Most Popular Chocolate Bars in the World
You know a fantastic chocolate bar when you taste one. The creamy, smooth texture. The way it melts on your tongue. The intense chocolate flavor. Whether or not your top pick is one of the most popular candy bars, it’s sure to satisfy your craving for chocolate. Popular candy bars often aren’t just a plain bar of chocolate. In fact, many famous candy bars have fillings or mix-ins that enhance the flavor, and some have multiple varieties or flavors available.
So, what is the most popular chocolate bar in the world? Here are 13 of the top-selling candy bars!
What is the most popular candy bar? Snickers candy bar takes that title. Peanuts and caramel top the creamy nougat to create a mix of textures and flavors that appeal to the masses. Then, it’s all coated in rich chocolate. The story goes that the name came from a favorite horse of Frank Mars with the same name. But despite its intriguing story, Snickers hasn’t always been known by that name in all parts of the world. In the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Ireland, the popular bar was known as Marathon until 1990.
Snickers bars come in a few other varieties, as well, including almond, dark, fudge and peanut butter. In October of 2017, Mars announced three new limited-edition flavors: espresso, fiery and salty & sweet. They all start with the classic Snickers ingredients with some additional flavor added to the nougat.
These limited-edition options play into the Hunger Bar promotion Snickers started in 2014 based on the idea that Snickers satisfies your hunger and stops your hunger-related symptoms. The espresso bar boasts “irritable” on the package. The fiery flavor is for those who are feeling “wimpy,” and sweet & salty works for those who are “indecisive.”
Snickers holiday treats and unique flavors may come and go, but the classic Snickers bar isn’t going anywhere. The peanut, nougat and caramel combination is a top pick for many people.
2. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
While not technically a bar, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups fall within the realm of chocolate candy, so they make the list. How could they not be at the top of the candy market? Not only do they have the perfect sweet and salty contrast, but they come in adorable little cups you can pop in your mouth at once or nibble on slowly to savor.
These sweet confections now fall under the Hershey’s umbrella, but that wasn’t always the case. A man named Harry Burnett Reese invented the sweet and salty cups in 1928. Reese worked for the Hershey’s company, first on Milton S. Hershey’s dairy farm and then in the chocolate factory. He found inspiration in his work, eventually starting his own candy company from his basement in the 1920s. The candy was well-received in the local market, so he created the H.B. Reese Candy Company.
His peanut butter cups became particularly popular. He left his job at Hershey to build his own factory and work on his candy line. While he initially manufactured different types of candy, he focused on his peanut butter cups when supplies became scarce during World War II. Reese died in 1956, and six of his sons took over the factory until they sold it seven years later to Hershey’s.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have come a long way since they were first introduced. The classic is still a favorite of many, but the brand now offers different versions of the sweet treat. You can get larger and smaller cups to suit your preferences. Other variations include white chocolate, dark chocolate, crunchy with peanuts, crispy crunch bar, sticks and cups with Reese’s pieces inside of them. Holiday-shaped Reese’s peanut butter cups are also famous throughout the year.
3. Milky Way
Milky Way is another sweet option from Mars. It’s similar to the popular Snickers bar but without the nuts and some other unique flavors. A thick, sweet layer of caramel tops the malt-flavored nougat inside with a milk chocolate coating on the outside for the perfect treat. The Midnight version features vanilla nougat with caramel and coated in dark chocolate. Another version, Simply Caramel, leaves out the nougat, wrapping only caramel inside the chocolate instead.
Frank C. Mars, the founder of the Mars brand, created Milky Way in 1923 based on a conversation with his son about using malted milk in a candy bar. The idea was to put the flavor of a malted milkshake in a candy bar. Mars came up with the name from the malted milk drink of the same name that was popular at that time. The candy bar took off, and Frank had to hire a full-time staff to keep up.
The bar initially sold for 5 cents. In 1932, Milky Way came as two pieces — by 1936, it became a single bar and was available in both vanilla and chocolate flavors. The vanilla bar eventually became known as Forever Yours but was discontinued in 1979. The Milky Way Dark bar hit the market in 1989 and was essentially an updated version of Forever Yours. In 2000, Mars renamed the Dark bar Milky Way Midnight.
4. Hershey’s Bar
Hershey’s is a household name when it comes to chocolate in the United States, and the solid chocolate Hershey’s Bar is perhaps the most recognizable option from the brand. Milton Hershey started the company after a string of attempted candy businesses in the late 1800s. After some failures, he headed to Denver, where he learned the art of making caramel. After moving to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1886, Hershey started the Lancaster Caramel Company, which became hugely popular thanks to the addition of milk that made his caramels superior to others.
That same innovation led him to create the Hershey’s bar. He discovered German chocolate equipment at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. That equipment was first used to coat his caramels in chocolate, but it eventually led to the creation of the Hershey’s Chocolate Company. He worked hard to create the Hershey bar recipe using fresh milk. By 1900, he finally introduced the Hershey’s bar, which he referred to as “The Great American Chocolate Bar.” It was much smoother than the chocolate previously available in the U.S., which was lumpy and less appealing. And because he was able to mass-produce the chocolate in his factory, he made it something everyone could afford instead of a luxury only the wealthiest people could have.
Today, Hershey’s bars are readily available in full-size and mini versions. Themed bars show up in stores around different holidays, usually with holiday-related images imprinted on the chocolate. Year-round, the Hershey’s bars come in a few different flavors in addition to the standard milk chocolate bar. One option is the classic milk chocolate with the addition of almonds. Fans of white chocolate may prefer the cookies ‘n’ cream version, a variety that came about in 1995, while dark chocolate lovers may lean toward the special dark bar, which went into production in 1939.
The latest version of the Hershey’s bar is Hershey’s gold, which launched nationwide on December 1, 2017, just in time to ride the wave of excitement created by the 2018 Winter Olympics — with the gold color representing the medals all Olympians hope to win. This new bar isn’t actually a chocolate bar. It features a base of caramelized creme with caramel, peanut and pretzel flavors in it.
Made with Alpine milk, Milka offers a unique, distinguishable flavor many people around the world love. Milka originated in 1901 in Germany and has been a favorite in the country since then. The name comes from combining the first parts of milch and kakoa, the German words for milk and cocoa, which are the main ingredients in the bar.
Milka is available in more than 40 countries, including the U.S. Demand for Milka is highest in Germany, France, Austria, Poland and Russia. Mondelez International, which was formed when Kraft split off into two companies, produces the candy.
One thing you may notice about the packaging is the distinctive lilac-colored packaging. The design of the package has changed over the years, but lilac has always been the color of the wrapping. Look closely, and you’ll see that Lila, the mascot cow on the package, also has lilac spots. In some European countries, the color is even trademarked, as is the script logo on the packaging.
Milka comes in a variety of flavors, some with other ingredients mixed into the chocolate. Some of the flavors include the original milk chocolate, Oreo and peanut caramel. A popular option in the United States is the Milka Oreo chocolate candy bars.
6. Cadbury Dairy Milk
Cadbury Dairy Milk is a beloved chocolate bar originating in the United Kingdom in 1905. It originally came in unwrapped blocks to be broken down into smaller bars. Mondelez International now owns the Cadbury company after Kraft took it over in 2010. Fresh milk from the British Isles goes into the milk chocolate bar, giving it a distinct flavor that delights consumers in 33 countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland and the Philippines. Another selling point of the candy bar is the Fairtrade cocoa that goes into the mix. Cadbury Dairy Milk bars come in more than 23 varieties, some of which include whole nut, caramello and fruit & nut.
Cadbury Dairy Milk candy bars and all other Cadbury products sold in the U.S. aren’t quite the same. The Hershey Company gained the license to produce Cadbury products in the U.S. in 1988. The recipe is different than the version made in the U.K., so you’ll likely notice a taste difference if you can get your hands on the European version of Cadbury Dairy Milk. The U.K. version can no longer be imported into the United States due to the trademark infringement against the U.S. version, which has caused some controversy among people who prefer the British version. Whether or not you have an opinion on the U.S. versus U.K. bars, Cadbury Dairy Milk candy bars are still top sellers.
Dove delights chocolate lovers who want a rich, smooth experience. The recipe includes 100% pure cocoa butter for a fantastic flavor and texture that makes this brand easy to recognize. A product of the Mars Company, the single Dove bars come in flavors like milk chocolate, dark chocolate, almond dark chocolate and mint dark chocolate. If you prefer bite-sized indulgence, the line includes Dove Promises, which are small, individually wrapped squares of the silky smooth chocolate. They come in a much wider variety of flavors, as well, like peanut butter milk chocolate, mocha latte dark chocolate, caramel milk chocolate and sea salt caramel dark chocolate.
8. Kit Kat
Made by the Hershey’s company, Kit Kat bars offer a bit of crispy crunch inside the chocolate coating. The basic Kit Kat features four “fingers” held together with the chocolate coating. The four-finger wafer made its debut in the U.K. in 1935. It was initially called Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp until it was rebranded as Kit Kat in 1937. Due to ingredient shortages related to World War II, the recipe changed for a few years along with a change in wrapper color. By 1949, the original recipe came back into production, along with the red wrapper.
Kit Kat is another candy produced by different companies. Until the 1970s, Rowntree’s of York made the wafer bars. In the 1970s, the Hershey Company made an agreement with Rowntree to produce Kit Kat bars in the U.S. An agreement was also made with Fujiya to bring the brand to Japan. Globally, Kit Kat goes under the Nestle brand because Nestle acquired Rowntree in 1988. In the U.S., Kit Kat candy bars are still produced by the H.B. Reese Candy Company, the division of the Hershey Company that makes Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
9. 3 Musketeers
Mars did it again by creating the 3 Musketeers bar in 1932. It was well-received in the U.S. market from the start. Like Snickers and Milky Way, the 3 Musketeers candy bar starts with a delicious nougat surrounded by chocolate. Unlike the other Mars candy bars, the 3 Musketeers bar has a much lighter, fluffier nougat center. The 3 Musketeers has no other fillings inside the chocolate coating.
The candy bar has nothing to do with the book by the same name. Instead, the candy’s name has more to do with the original format of the bars. When the 3 Musketeer bars debuted, they included three mini bars. Each of the bars had a different flavor of nougat. The flavors were chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. That changed during World War II when many candy companies faced shortages and financial constraints. Mars decided to focus on the most popular chocolate nougat filling and stopped making vanilla and strawberry to save on production costs.
Mars has since released special limited-edition varieties of the classic nougat-filled confection over the years, including mint, French vanilla, mocha cappuccino, strawberry, cherry and raspberry. These flavors were only available for a short time, but the chocolate-flavored nougat version remains a constant in the candy aisle.
They may not be in bar form, but M&M’s make the list of the most popular chocolate candy around the world. Who doesn’t love a handful of chocolate designed to melt in your mouth? Plus, they’re fun and colorful with that signature “M” printed on the candy coating. M&M’s are a favorite among kids, but even adults enjoy the candy-coated classic!
What you might not know about M&M’s is that they started out as a product made for the U.S. military in 1941. They worked well in soldiers’ rations because the coating prevented them from melting in the heat like plain chocolate. It wasn’t until 1945 when the candy became available to the general public. Also, the candies were originally packaged in tubes — Mars switched to the signature brown bag packaging in 1948. In 1950, they added the iconic “M” on each piece of candy to let consumers know they were buying authentic M&M’s.
The original M&M’s were plain chocolates coated in candy. If you’ve looked in the candy aisle lately, you know Mars now produces a wide variety of flavors. For example, peanut M&M’s went into production in 1954. Decades later in 1988, Mars introduced the almond version. Then, peanut butter M&M’s came about in 1991. The company has continued adding new flavors, including:
- Dark chocolate
- Dark mint
- Dark chocolate peanut
Butterfinger candy bars feature a unique peanut butter filling made by chopping freshly roasted peanuts, turning them into peanut butter and mixing it with sugar candy. The result is a filling that can be kneaded, rolled and cut to create the bars. The sweet chocolate coating offers the perfect balance to the salty peanut butter center.
Butterfinger candy bars originated in Chicago in the 1920s under the Curtiss Candy Company. The official start date is a little fuzzy. Evidence shows the original company started promoting the candy bars in 1923, but a trademark document for the candy is dated 1928. Butterfinger eventually landed with the Nestle company in 1990 after changing hands a few times. Nestle is the company that still produces the crispy, peanut butter bars.
This unique candy bar is also known for its unique marketing style, focusing on humor in their ad campaigns. Many previous spokespeople for the brand are known for their humor, including Bart Simpson. April Fool’s Day pranks are also popular with the brand. You don’t have to be a comedian to enjoy the crispy peanut butter flavor of Butterfinger, though!
12. Baby Ruth
Baby Ruth’s history starts in 1921 in Chicago, a product of Otto Schnering and the Curtiss Candy Company, which also created the Butterfinger. Baby Ruth was a remake of the company’s Kandy Kake product.
There’s some disagreement on where the name came from for this candy bar. Many people assume it refers to famed baseball player Babe Ruth. Curtiss Candy Company said it was named after Ruth Cleveland, the daughter of President Grover Cleveland. Not everyone believed that explanation, though, especially since Ruth Cleveland died 17 years before the candy bar launched. Meanwhile, others felt it was the company’s sneaky way of using the name recognition of a famous athlete without paying him any royalties or other compensation.
Despite the name controversy, Baby Ruth is a favorite candy bar now made by Nestle. The bar features a chocolate-flavored nougat, peanuts and caramel, which is all covered with chocolate. Unlike other popular bars with different flavors and versions of the original, Baby Ruth comes in just one version.
You may recognize the candy bar from some of your favorite movies. Baby Ruth makes appearances in several famous films, including “Caddyshack,” “The Goonies” and “The Sandlot.”
The Toblerone candy bar originated in Switzerland. Jean Tobler had a confectionery shop in Bern, which became so popular he opened his own chocolate factory in 1899. He soon handed over the company to his son, Theodor Tobler, who invented the Toblerone candy bar in 1908 with his cousin, Emil Baumann. The name is a mix of Tobler and the Italian word for nougat, torrone.
Toblerone is unique compared to the typical candy bars in the U.S. The candy bar and the packaging have a distinct triangular shape instead of the usual flat bar. The original version of the bar features honey and almond nougat surrounded by Swiss milk chocolate. In 1969, the company added a dark chocolate version of Toblerone, followed by a white chocolate version in 1973. The Fruit & Nut version came about in 2007, which contains the traditional honey and almond nougat with the addition of California raisins.
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Did your favorite chocolate bar make the list of most popular candy bars in the world? Even if your favorite wasn’t on this list, you can still enjoy it and other treats when you need something to sweeten your day. Stock up on your favorites, or try something new from Candy Central. Easy, secure online ordering combined with reliable shipping means you’ll be savoring your favorites quickly. Check out our selection of candy bars and place your order today!